New Book: Discontinuous NPs in German

Christine Sosa sosa at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Wed Jul 24 22:30:02 UTC 2002

CSLI Publications is pleased to announce the availability of:

DISCONTINUOUS NPs IN GERMAN; Kordula De Kuthy (The Ohio State
University);paper ISBN: 1-57586-398-7, $28.00, cloth ISBN:
1-57586-397-9, $70.00, 206 pages. CSLI Publications 2002. , email: pubs at

To order this book, contact The University of Chicago Press. Call
their toll free order number 1-800-621-2736  (U.S. & Canada only)  or
order online at (use the search
feature to locate the book, then order).

Book description:

This book investigates the occurrence of discontinuous noun phrases,
a word order phenomenon in German.  De Kuthy explores the division of
labor between the syntactic analysis, lexical constraints, and
discourse constraints of this phenomenon. She argues that many of the
factors that previous literature has tried to explain in terms of
syntactic restrictions on movement are in fact derivable from
discourse factors.

A prepositional phrase in German can occur separately from the noun
phrase it modifies. Working within the framework of Head-Driven
Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), De Kuthy examines the syntactic
analysis of the NP--PP split construction and provides an explicit
theory that licenses reanalysis-like structures for this split. She
goes on to identify lexical-semantic and discourse restrictions on
the occurrence of discontinuous noun phrases. De Kuthy presents an
account of the lexical-semantic effects, based on the Generative
Lexicon, and integrates it with her HPSG analysis.

De Kuthy explores the possible focus-background structures of NP-PP
split constructions.  She shows that discourse restrictions can be
deduced from information-structure requirements of the construction
and she formalizes this insight by developing and integrating an
information-structure component into her HPSG analysis.
Interestingly, some of the restrictions on movement that have been
traditionally viewed as being syntactic automatically fall out of this
information-structure module.

This book ultimately provides an exemplary argument for rethinking
the division of labor between syntax theory and a theory of discourse.


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